May 5 , 2010

Scotiabank launches foreign worker banking program

TORONTO--Scotiabank has launched a financial services program for temporary foreign workers and international students entering Canada. The program is an extension of Scotia’s StartRight Program for Newcomers, which was launched in 2008.

Services offered via StartRight include free banking for one year, worldwide money transfer with Western Union, safety deposit box, and No-Fee Scotia Moneyback® Visa credit card. Applicants are also offered mortgages designed for the needs of temporary workers as well as auto loans.

“We realized that the growth in retail banking was going to come from newcomers,” Rania Llewellyn, vice president of multicultural banking at Scotiabank, tells Payments Business.

According to Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC), in 2008, 247,000 permanent residents, 193,000 foreign workers and 80,000 foreign students entered Canada. On December 1, 2008, there were 588,000 temporary residents in Canada.

CIC expects immigration to account for all of Canada’s net population growth between 2026 and 2031, and for all labour force growth between 2011 and 2016.

“These newcomers represent a big business opportunity,” says Llewellyn.

“When new immigrants and foreign workers first arrive in Canada, buying a car is a major purchase for many,” said Ron Porter, Senior Vice President, Automotive Finance and Indirect Lending at Scotiabank.

StartRight includes an auto finance service which is initially available through all Canadian new vehicle franchise dealerships.

The StartRight program also offers useful information such as advice on getting a social insurance number and driving license are also included in the service. in addition, it includes a call centre offering advice to customers in six languages.

“Scotiabank is able to credit rating and loans for newcomers, even if they come from a country where they have no credit history,” Llewellyn says. “We are prepared to underwrite loans on a case-by-case basis. Applicants would have to have a down payment and we only provide auto loans for vehicles under four years old.”

In countries such as India and China, customers are able to set up Scotiabank accounts before arriving in Canada. In India, this is done via Scotiabank’s own branches, of which there are five, and also via branches of HDFC Bank. In China, accounts can be opened via the 150 branches of China Everbright Bank.




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